I recently visited my local botanical garden to view their orchid display. It was freezing cold that day, but inside the conservatory it was warm and toasty and it smelled like Spring! Tripods are only allowed during certain hours so I was traveling very light with my Think Tank Photo Perception Tablet backpack (review coming soon) my Olympus OM-D E-M1, a few lenses and my Olympus TG-3.
There are a few things to consider when you are visiting a public garden. Listed below are a few of my thoughts:
- Call ahead to see if they allow the use of a tripod and if they do, find out if they restrict the hours and locations for using them.
- Find out if you need to have a permit to use a tripod. At the garden I visited, you must pick up a permit before entering the garden area and it must be displayed on the tripod.
- When using a tripod, be aware of your surroundings. Be careful not to cause any tripping hazards by extending your tripod legs too far into the pathways.
- Shoulder bag or backpack? Consider how much you might be walking. Will it be crowded? Will it be hard to access your gear in your backpack if it's crowded? Will you be knocking into people with a large pack on your back?
- Consider your lens choices - will you want to shoot macro? What do you need to do differently if you can't use a tripod?
- Food/water - find out if there is a cafe at the location. If not and you'll be there for several hours, can you bring in food? Are there vending machines for water/soda?
- Wear comfortable shoes if you are going to be doing a considerable amount of walking
- Dress in layers. If you will be touring indoors and outdoors, be prepared for extreme temperature changes. Most conservatory temperatures can be quite warm.
- Take photos of the placards in case you want to identify the plants in your photos at a later date.
- Lighting can be poor in some areas of the gardens. Bring a flashlight or LED box light if you want to add a little extra light to your subject without using flash.
- Take care not to disturb the plant life. The caretakers don't take kindly to folks touching the plants or using a plamp to hold back other plants so you can create the perfect composition.
- Use common sense when working on your subject. If it's super crowded, don't linger in front of a display for too long. Let others enjoy the view too.
Take your time and enjoy your visit and if your garden offers a membership, consider joining. Often membership has it's privileges like no entrance fee or discounted tickets, discounts at the gift shop, cafeteria and more.
Here are a few photos from my recent visit.